Don't Forget to Stop and Celebrate Successes

Sometimes we get so wrapped up in meeting our measurable goals, our benchmark assessments and our implementation strategies that we lose sight of what is important; working for a common goal and celebrating together along the way.  Stephen Covey has taught us about interdependence and the importance of working together to achieve success in the Seven Habits of Highly Effective Leaders.  He talked about the requirement to value and respect people by understanding a "win" and that a win is for the team and not for just one member of the staff.

In the past, our professional learning sessions were held within content areas with one trainer in a classroom. Upon interviews and surveys, we determined that the staff wanted more opportunities to collaborate outside of their disciplines. As leaders, we listened and called staff around the table to help plan new opportunities for a hybrid model of personalized professional learning.  The teachers wanted to provide more opportunities to target their needs in small groups, blended and on-demand self-paced. They also asked that we repurpose one of our monthly school trainings to become a large group opportunity to share their content creation or cool tool with their colleagues.  We listened and now on the meeting agenda that is posted in our shared OneNote Professional Learning Book, I ask teachers to bring something to share.  I call it ‘Open Mic’.

Hands-down, these sharing opportunities are a big hit. At first, I selected teachers who were using the same resource within different disciplines and grade levels to demonstrate how the same resource can be used differently depending on the goal. This sparked much interest and increased the dialogue not only across disciplines but across grade level.  

During our last Open Mic, I had teachers demonstrate their use of OneNote Class Notebook in an English Language Arts class and another teacher in Honors Chemistry and yet another in World Language/Spanish.  They both had different uses of their teacher notebook and requirements for the student notebooks that they monitored through Office365. The theme was blended learning and collaboration and with that theme, a special education teacher demonstrated how she collaborated with her students in OneNote with audio feedback that the teacher personalized in each of her students shared files.

You never know what will be shared in an Open Mic session, however, everyone walks away saying, ‘That was cool. I need to find out how he/she did that’.

Stop and celebrate! It is a win for the team!


Marianthe Williams has been a district level administrator supporting teaching and learning with technology and professional learning for the past 15 years. Most recently, she has supported the River Dell Regional School District in the implementation of their one-to-one computing initiative which is about to enter its ninth year at the high school. In addition, she supports technology infusion into the middle school’s learner-centered environment. Williams created an elite team of technology turnkey teacher trainers within each discipline who provide ongoing, personalized options through face- to-face, on-demand and flipped professional learning opportunities to their colleagues. She is active in several state and local technology director associations and she currently serves on the technology committee for the New Jersey Association of School Administrators. 

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